Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a weekly columnist at The American Prospect. Her email is ecarney@prospect.org.


Recent Articles

Business as Usual? Michael Cohen Payments Look More Like a Smoking Gun

AP Photo/Richard Drew Attorney Michael Cohen in at Trump Tower in New York A surprisingly popular take on the millions in “consulting” fees that Michael Cohen collected from heavy hitters in the telecommunications, aerospace and drug industries is that the payments were unseemly but not illegal. “Welcome to the reality of Washington,” opened the May 11 edition of “Playbook,” Politico’s daily briefing, which continued: “YES, guys like Michael Cohen routinely get paid amounts like $1.2 million to offer insights about their boss or former boss.” And even if Trump’s personal lawyer “explicitly sold access” to his boss, argues criminal attorney Randall D. Eliason in a recent op-ed , a string of Supreme Court cases has made public corruption cases almost impossible to prosecute. But anyone who shrugs off the Cohen scandal isn’t looking very carefully at a money trail that grows more complicated every day, and that points to both criminal and national security danger zones. The secret...

“No Corporate PAC” Pledges Go Beyond Cheap Promises

AP Photo/Denis Poroy Senator Kamala Harris speaks in San Diego I t would be easy to reject the growing popularity of “no corporate PAC” pledges among Democrats as symbolic at best. Corporate PAC dollars often add relatively little to candidates’ campaign coffers, and are subject to strict limits and full disclosure in any case. The real corruption threat these days comes not from conventional corporate PACs but from super PACs, which may raise and spend unlimited money if they keep candidates at arm’s length, and from secretive “issue” groups that skirt disclosure rules while spending millions on politics. Nevertheless, there are potent forces driving the more than 100 Democratic candidates who have promised to reject corporate PAC contributions, including a half-dozen potential 2020 presidential contenders. The “no PAC” pledges may strike some as campaign gimmickry, but they reflect both rising public anger over big money in politics, and the power behind anti-big money messages. “It...

Republicans Are Running Out of Excuses for Trump

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tells reporters on April 10, 2018, that he's seen no clear indication that Congress needs to step in and pass legislation that would prevent the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller. S enate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done his best to throw cold water on a bipartisan bill that would effectively block President Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. McConnell told Fox News that he “will not” bring the bill to the floor, and that even if the Senate managed to pass it, he sees no reason why Trump would sign it. All that makes the bill look like an awfully lost cause. But for those backing the legislation, its actual passage may be beside the point. As the White House spins out of control, the bill is important both as a measure of growing public pressure on Republicans and as a signal that Congress is prepared to defend the rule of law. The emergence of two Senate Republicans as the bill’s lead...

Can This Census Be Saved?

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman poses for a photo with members of District Council 37 after a news conference on April 3, 2018, in New York. Schneiderman announced a new lawsuit by seventeen states, the District of Columbia, and six cities against the Trump administration's plan to add a citizenship demand to the census questionnaire. democracy_rules.jpg T he Commerce Department’s decision to ask about citizenship on the census typifies the way the Trump administration does business: It’s hasty and sloppy, disregards expert opinion, is calculated to hurt Democrats and immigrants, misstates the facts, wastes taxpayer dollars, and may violate the Constitution. Opponents of the decision, which was announced at the eleventh hour with none of the years-long testing usually conducted for questions added to the census, are seeking redress both in the courts and on Capitol Hill. Recent lawsuits filed by the attorneys general of California and New York make...

Hush Money May Prove Trump's Biggest Campaign-Finance Problem

(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles) Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels A lleged campaign-finance violations keep piling up against President Trump, but the ones that involve the paltriest sums—two payments of less than $200,000 apiece to silence women who claim affairs with Trump—may cause him the most trouble. In one sense, Trump’s entanglements with a porn star and an ex-Playboy Bunny look like seedy side shows compared with special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding last month t hat a foreign power disrupted American democracy. By far the most serious campaign-finance allegation against Trump remains that he and his team illegally solicited help from and provided assistance to Russians who meddled in the 2016 election. Trump’s hush money payments also may prove less corrosive, in the grand scheme of things, than the millions being raised and spent by a secretive nonprofit set up by officials from his campaign and his administration. That organization, America First...